Charlesview update coming Monday

Back in February 2008, Charlesview wanted to build 282 apartments on 6.2 acres of the Brighton Mills shopping center and 118 condos on 0.7 acres along Telford St. Since then we have spent many meetings with the BRA planners and their consultants talking about Brighton Mills and the rest of the Holton St Corridor.

At the May 27 meeting, the BRA proposed height and density as shown in these images, with 37-64 units per acre in the blocks south of Western Ave and 18-36 units/acre in the blocks between that and Holton St. Tomorrow (Monday) from 6-8pm at the Honan Library, The Community Builders - the developers for Charlesview - will speak publicly about their plans for the first time in 16 months. One interesting question is how consistent their plans will be with what the BRA presented last month. Here are some numbers and measurements to consider:

The two higher-density blocks along Western Ave total 3.5 acres. The blocks between that and Holton St total 4 acres.

3.5 acres @ 37-64 units/acre = 130-224 units
4 acres @ 18-36 units/acre = 72-144 units
Total for 7.5 acres using BRA proposed density = 200 - 368 units (27 - 49 units/acre)

If Charlesview still has only the 6.2 acres in Brighton Mills, the BRA's proposed density for this area would allow 170 - 300 units. If Charlesview wants to put all of their current 213 units in Brighton Mills, this would mean fewer than 90 additional units could fit. Seventy percent of the development would be low-income apartments and only 30% could be anything else. This is far from an evenly mixed community and doesn't meet the standards of integration that housing experts have established all over the country to create diverse and stable communities.
Maybe Harvard has decided in the last two weeks to give Charlesview more land. Maybe Charlesview still has plans for a tower along the river. Maybe, like Harvard did two weeks ago, Charlesview will propose development in excess of what the BRA proposed last month. Or, maybe like Harvard did two weeks ago, Charlesview will speak vaguely without details about what they have in mind. In any case it will probably be one of the more interesting meetings of the summer.

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